Not your grandfather's HA, HB or HC from Luton or Ellesmere Port; revived Vauxhall Viva is a GM Korea import, Opel's is called Karl
General Motors expects its new entry-level car, which will be badged as the Opel Karl in mainland Europe and revive Vauxhall's Viva nameplate in the UK, to sell close to 100,000 units a year.
Both versions were launched at the Geneva Show on Tuesday and give GM a three-pronged assault on the European A and B segments alongside the Opel/Vauxhall Adam and Corsa.
"The Corsa is our meat and two veg, the Adam allows buyers to bespoke it while the Karl/Viva is fresh and new. They each appeal to a diferent audience,” said Vauxhall chairman and managing director Tim Tozer.
"We have made the decision to drop the Chevrolet nameplate in Europe and stick to the knitting, which means Vauxhall and Opel, but we neeeded an entry point to the brands. It is an A segment car, but not a budget car. It is a five-seater with proper windows in the back and a brand new one-litre normally aspirated engine.”
Both Opel and Vauxhall will offer very simple model lines with just three trim levels, one engine, 10 colours and a single five-door body style. The Viva/Karl will be built at GM’s facility in South Korea using a brand new platform. No additional body styles or engines are planned.
It is the first time for several years that a GM European model has been sold under different nameplates on the mainland and in the UK, and Tozer says it took less than 24 hours to get approval from GM president Karl-Thomas Neumann for the idea.
"We knew we couldn’t call it Karl in the UK and at Geneva last year we were talking about the small car and someone asked why we didn’t use the Viva name," he said. "I sent an e-mail to Karl-Thomas Neumann and he came back within 24 hours and said 'no problem'."